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Thursday, 21. December 2006

Economics of Mating

There was this article (not well written I think) in today's NYT Business section on the application of economics to explain how people marry. This economist's view of the mating market is summed up as follows:

"Each searcher is then assumed to follow the rule, “Marry the best person who will have me,” with the result a mating pattern in which 10s pair with other 10s, 9s with other 9s, and so on. Needless to say, this is a crassly unsentimental account of how people sort themselves into couples. But as a colleague once explained, it often suggests useful advice for struggling relationship-seekers.

A friend of his had complained about the inherent perversity of the relationship scene. “Why is it,” she wondered, “that the men I fall in love with are never interested in me, whereas I never feel attracted to the ones who fall for me?” Because my colleague knew this woman well, he felt free to respond candidly. “It’s simple,” he explained. “You’re an 8 constantly chasing after 10s and constantly being chased by 6s.” His friend later confessed that this one-sentence analysis had proved more useful than several years of expensive psychotherapy."

While the author later admits that this is a very simplistic view of such an emotion-laden transaction for it doesn't account for altruism and other good things like that, in my view, this model does offer a fair enough take on the real world. What would be nice, however, is if these econ chaps come up with a measuring mechanism that tattoos across the forehead of each person what his or her unchangeable number might be in bright red; for example, mine might be square root of minus one. This way I can get back into the Alice-In-The-Wonderland Date & Mate market(or when I am feeling less chartiable, the WTF?!-romantic-chemicals racket) out of which I have parked myself, and also make my management happy before their dreaded (and rapidly approaching) sell-by date (the date I turn 30) happens. :)


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